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0242 Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1
Notes on Marco Polo : vol.1 / Page 242 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000246
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226   126. CATAI

ulus, « all the people » is well known. It occurs in literary texts, for instance in the historical colophon published by LIGETI (TP, 1930, 131, where it is transcribed gür ulus). In the

preamble of Güyük's letter to Innocent IV, the Mongol Emperor calls himself « the Oceanic khan of the whole great nation » (kür uluy ulus-nung taluf-nung ban; cf. Pe, 22). RAMSTEDT'S remark seems to be arbitrary. But whatever the case may be, and whether we read gür-han or kür-han, the fact remains that gür or kiir is a good Mongolian word, and that the title gür-han or kür-ban was in use among Mongol tribes. That it should have made its first appearance with the Qara-Hitai should therefore cause no surprise if we remember that the Ch'i-tan must have spoken a Mongol dialect.

Rubrouck refers to a sovereign « Coirchan» (var. « Concham»; but also « Coirchan » in Roger Bacon's extracts) to whom the « Turks » sent for succour at the time when the Franks took Antioch, as is said « in the history of Antioch »; he adds that « Coir » (or « Con ») is a proper name, that « chan » (or « cham ») means « soothsayer » and that the said sovereign was a « Caracatai », i. e. a Qara-Hitai (ROCKHILL, Rubruck, 108-109; Try, 205-206). It has been taken for granted that « Coirchan » (or « Concham ») was intended by Rubrouck to represent gar-ban, and this is probably the case. Yet there are errors and difficulties in the text. Rubrouck confuses ban, « sovereign », « khan », with qam, « soothsayer ». Moreover, at the time of the capture of Antioch by the Franks (1098), there was not yet any gür-ban. It seems that Rubrouck wrongly associated a « Coirchan » whom he found mentioned in a history of Antioch with the gür-ban he heard of in Central Asia. Unfortunately, it has been impossible so far to identify the Hystoria Antiochie alluded to by Rubrouck (cf. also ZARNCKE, Der Priester Johannes, II, 87-96).

It is said in the Liao shih (30, 3 a) that when Yeh-Iü Ta-shih reached Samarkand, « the various kingdoms of the western countries raised 100,000 soldiers and called up 2, Q, lflj Hu-

êrh-shan to come and oppose him in the field (4   --I- AY,   'ham{   silo 3}E 4E   ) ... Hu-êrh-shan
was utterly defeated ... ». VISDELOU and BRETSCHNEIDER (Br, I, 215) are in substantial agreement with the above translation. HOWORTH (JRAS, 1876, 272), relying on DE MAILLA'S editor and on DOUGLAS, felt no hesitation in declaring it wrong, and so did MARQUART, on DE GROOT's authority (Veber das Volkstum der Komanen, 142) : for them Hu-êrh-shan was not the name or the title of the commander-in-chief, but a designation of the soldiers. But while

HOWORTH saw in Hu-êrh-shan the name « Horâsân », MARQUART identified it with Ar. ;I yuzat, « soldier fighting for the faith ». Despite HOWORTH, MARQUART and their authorities, those who have seen in Hu-êrh-shan the name, title, or epithet of the commander-in-chief have the support of the Liao shih itself, where it is said (ch. 116, 9 a) that Hu-êrh-shan was « the name (ming) of the commander-in-chief of the western countries ». On the other hand, MARQUART'S explanation is phonetically unacceptable : in the Mongol period, 1ß}J shan still sounded san, and represented san or exceptionally sal in transcriptions (cf. TP, 1930, 43); the original, with some uncertainty as to the sound -u- or -o- in the first syllable (cf. above for ko-êrh-han) can only be *Hursan (or *Hursai). BRETSCHNEIDER (Br, I, 215) suggested the Hwârizm-sah, without finding elsewhere a confirmation of a battle fought between him and the Qara-Hitai; but he had also obviously thought of « the Seldjuk Sultan Sangiar of Khorasan » since he mentioned him, and was only